The Royals beat the Women’s Super League opener of the season – Wokingham.Today
READING FC WOMEN suffered a heavy defeat in the opening game of the 2022/23 Women’s Super League season at Manchester United.
It was a blistering display from United in the first half that saw them take a four-goal lead with a brace from Maya Le Tissier and goals from Katie Zelem and Alessia Russo.
With a damage limitation task on their hands in the second half, the Royals reduced the score with an improved display after the break.
Opening her Women’s Super League campaign at Leigh Sports Village in a tough game against Manchester United, Kelly Chambers made two debuts.
New signings Lauren Wade and Charlie Wellings have been named in the starting line-up, while Emma Mukandi has returned for the first time since her maternity leave to lead the team.
Well aware that they would face a tricky test against a side set to push for the Champions League places, Reading’s task became even trickier when they conceded in the opening four minutes.
After Wade managed to prevent Ona Battle from entering the box and dropping in for a corner, United took advantage of the game’s first free kick to open the scoring.
United debutant Maya Le Tissier was first to meet Katie Zelem’s corner and her volley went over Grace Moloney’s head to find the back of the net.
Reading came forward through Deanne Rose on the right wing and had a huge shout for a disallowed penalty when the Canada international’s cross appeared to hit a defender’s arm, but the referee waved to Continue.
The Royals had another half chance when Wade burst down the left and fired a slightly too-hit cross to find Wellings.
United were awarded a slightly questionable penalty in the 14th minute when Moloney tried to steal the ball from Alessia Russo and the referee ruled the goalkeeper had failed to win the ball and instead fouled the striker lionesses.
Zelem came over and slotted the ball past Moloney, although the Reading keeper guessed the correct side.
Reading’s afternoon went from bad to worse when Rose had to be substituted through injury and was replaced by Natasha Dowie.
The hosts once again charged Reading with a corner when they added a third on the afternoon. The Royals failed to get Le Tissier back as she went unmarked and took full advantage as she nodded past Moloney.
Mark Skinner’s side extended their lead to put them in a dominant position before the break when Ona Battle made another adventurous run down the right and the move was finished by Russo at the near post.
United could have made it five before half-time had it not been for a crucial save from Moloney who dove low to prevent Lucia Garcia.
The second half started in a similar style to the first with United pushing relentlessly in the hope of adding to the scoreline.
Deanne Cooper slid in to make a final tackle on Leah Galton and the rebound fell invitingly for Russo in the air, but she missed the target with the gaping goal.
Cooper again hampered his body when Ella Toone had a chance to shoot 12 yards from goal.
Chambers made a change on the hour mark when Sanne Troeslgaard was replaced by Tia Primmer.
The Red Devils continued to search for a fifth and went close when the ball found its way to the back post for substitute Nikita Parris who missed the target.
Reading managed to hold off United’s attack to keep a clean sheet in the second half after the damage had already been inflicted in the first 35 minutes of the game.
Reading are back in action next Sunday at Brighton & Hove Albion.
Manchester United : Earps, Battle, Blundell, Le Tissier, Garcia, Turner, Galton, Ladd, Zelem (c), Toone, Russo
submarines: Baggaley, Thorisdottir, Tounkara, Boe Risa, Moore, Staniforth, Leon, Parris, Thomas
While reading: Moloney, Mukandi (c), Evans, Cooper, Woodham, Wade, Troelsgaard, Rowe, Eikeland, Rose, Wellings
Subtitles: Burns, Poulter, Dowie, Caldwell, Primmer, Meadows, Tuson, Perry
Goals: Le Tissier 4′, 25′, Zelem 14′ (enclosure), Russo 35′